It is believed that Tecumseh was born in 1768 in central Ohio. He was the second son of a Shawnee warrior who was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant. In his dying breaths, his father commanded his eldest son Cheesuaka, to train Tecumseh as a warrior and to never make peace with the whites. Cheesuaka was good to his word and became an excellent warrior and a teacher. He grew close with his younger brother, and after their mother moved to Missouri he acted as a foster parent as well. Tecumseh was a model child, and although it is claimed that he ran in terror from his first battle, his courage never faltered from then on. Tall, muscular, intelligent, and highly charismatic, Tecumseh proved to be a master battle tactics and an excellent speaker. (Edmunds).
Prophet was one of a set of triplets born just a few years after Tecumseh. Tenskwatawa, as he was first known was the only one of the three believed to have survived into adulthood. Part of this could be because, unlike Tecumseh, Tenskwatawa was a clumsy child who was unskilled in hunting and would never become a warrior. This was a serious faux paux for a young man in Shawnee society. Tenskwatawa lost his right eye in a hunting accident when he was young. As he grew older, developed a taste for whiskey and quickly degenerated into severe alcoholism. Despite his flaws, Tenskwatawa was devoted to Tecumseh, and the older brother acted as his protector. (Edmunds).
Tenskwatawa's life was filled with alcohol and despair when, he fell into a deep trance. Awakening, he began to preach a powerful message, delivered to him by the Great Spirit. The ways of the white men, he proclaimed, were an evil that corrupted all they touched. Not only did the whites continue to take Indian lands, they had made the Indians dependent on the white world's tools and poisoned by its whiskey The Indian people were losing their identity. (Edmunds).
Prophets teachings called for a total rejection of the white culture, which included the clothing and technology, alcohol and religion.